category: Campus News

Winter graduation ceremony to be at Sevierville Convention Center

Dr. Claude Pressnell Jr., president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, will serve as the guest speaker for Carson-Newman University’s Winter Commencement ceremony.

(Nov. 5, 2020) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman University’s Winter Commencement ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 11 in the Sevierville Convention Center.

The guest speaker will be Dr. Claude Pressnell Jr., president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association. Pressnell has served as the TICUA president for 20 years as well as serving on numerous international, national and state-level boards. Additionally, he has served as an international advisor on higher education reform to foreign governments in the Middle East, South Asia, the Balkan region of Europe and South America.

“I’m looking forward to sharing this time of celebration with the graduates and their families,” Pressnell said. “Earning a university degree serves as a significant milestone that will forever change their lives. Advanced degrees not only provide greater opportunities; they carry a deep sense of responsibility for proper Christian stewardship and service to society.

Pressnell holds a doctorate in higher education administration/educational leadership from Vanderbilt University.

“I am excited for our graduates to hear from Dr. Claude Pressnell Jr., an individual who has a history of exemplary service as an educated citizen and worldwide servant-leader,” said Carson-Newman Provost Jeremy J. Buckner. “Pressnell’s service as president of the TICUA and his appointed roles advising the United States Congress in addition to our state government and foreign governments on higher education policy creates an inspiring example for Carson-Newman’s students. We delight in this opportunity to celebrate this moment of accomplishment with our graduates.”

Due to the pandemic, this will be the first in-person ceremony the University has been able to host since December 2019. The University invited graduates from spring and summer to join in the ceremony as well.

Carson-Newman has put into place several requirements for the event to meet COVID-19 guidelines, including requiring face coverings, temperature checks upon entry and social distancing. Graduates will receive a limited number of tickets for guests to ensure social distancing between family groups. Those unable to attend will be able to view the ceremony on the University’s livestream at:

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and has over 2,900 students. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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